We’ve looked at jealousy this week as part of a message from the series, Wildfire—When Anger Burns Out of Control. We’re finishing with two counter-offenses to jealousy. Yesterday we looked at gratitude. Today our focus will be on contentment.
I was caught off guard recently by these questions: How do you know if you’re rich? How do you know if you’re poor? If you didn’t know otherwise, what would inform your answer? The only thing I could think of is comparison. When I compare what I have, or don’t, to what you have, it’s easy to falsely place myself above or below you.
Here are more questions: How much is enough? Is it when you have enough to be happy? Or having enough so that you don’t think you have to worry about not having enough? Only contentment will stop this otherwise unending cycle.
No one will be able to tell you when to be content. You must arrive at that place of understanding, just as Paul did. He sets a pretty high bar by his own example in Philippians 4. Paul says his happiness isn’t connected to circumstances or things. His joy comes from a much deeper place that has nothing to do with having or not having. His familiar statement in verse 13 points to the source of his contentment, I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. We shouldn’t see this as a promise of constant success. J.B. Phillips translated it this way, I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives in me.
The path to contentment may begin with confessing how prone we are to compare, or how little we really need to rely on the provision of Jesus. Is He enough for you?